If you thought your school and social life had problems, listen to what's going on in Bomont! Ren is struggling with his father leaving him and adjusting to a new town. Ariel has to escape her abusive boyfriend and handle her father's scoldings. Above all, dancing is outlawed. Over the weekend, Overbrook High School brought their rendition of Footloose to life on the stage.
Footloose follows our protagonist Ren (Santino Magazzu), who has just moved from the buzzing city of Chicago to the modest and very conservative town of Bomont. After becoming infatuated with the town reverend's daughter, Ariel (Lyanie Pagan), and learning about dancing being outlawed in the town, Ren leads a campaign to bring dancing and more importantly, Prom back to Bomont. After his efforts to save the town, Ren learned that questioning authority isn't always wrong and can prove to be successful.
From start to finish, Overbrook High School's production kept the audience engaged. While they persevered through some sound issues, the cast maintained their energy to boost the vibe of the performance and keep the audience on the edge of their seats.
The leads of the show set a high standard from the start foreshadowing what would ultimately be a great show. Ren maintained his never-ending energy during the performance. His connection with Ariel felt grounded in reality and was adorable to see develop during the performance. Although there were some vocal issues, whether it be vocal performance or technical mic issues during certain numbers such as the opening to the show, after warming up to the stage, the leads pulled through and led their cast to a great performance.
The supporting actors and ensemble stole the show. Their ability to keep up with the dance and sound quality of the leads as well as backing them up throughout the entire production made them a valuable asset to the show. Numbers such as "Holding Out for a Hero" and "Somebody's Eyes (scene shift)" performed by Rusty (Marley Smith), Wendy Jo (Nalae Zachary-Hairston) and Urleen (Isabella Weinstein) contained beautiful vocal harmonies and flashy dance moves. To add on, the overexaggerated southern impression by Willard (Jeremy Davis) made the audience fall in love with his performance during "Mama Says". Overbook's ensemble was equally as talented, dance captain Simone Pratt and Tyler Blaylock were outstanding ensemble members in particular.
Sound and light design in the production had the audience dropping their jaws and cheering for light cues, something uncommon during most high school performances. The background set design served for many other purposes other than just being the train tracks that Ren and Ariel visited. The moveable set for the Moore home contained such attention to detail, from the cross on the wall to pieces of decor on small shelves drilled into the wall. The flashing lights in "Holding on for a Hero" and the rainbow hues present in "Footloose Finale" added so much pizzazz to the performance as a whole.
Overbrook High School deserves all the praise given by the audience during their bows. It certainly kicked off the audience's "Sunday shoes," and I look forward to seeing what Overbrook High School will do next - especially since many of their leads and supporting roles were freshman!